Rely on Occupational Safety & Health ReporterSM for full news coverage and documentation of federal and state workplace safety and health programs, standards, legislation,...
Employers shouldn’t hurry to file their annual injury and illness summaries electronically with OSHA even though the agency began accepting reports Aug. 1, employer-side attorneys are recommending.
Employers can delay filing until the Dec. 1 deadline, while the Trump administration reviews the Obama-era Labor Department rule and court cases challenge the regulation. This is the first time hundreds of thousands of employers are required to report electronically and many have raised concerns about whether the data would be publicly available. They fear that the public data would be used by unions and others to critique their safety performance and reveal information on the number of workers employed.
“People ought to wait and see because there is lot that is uncertain,” Jamie LaPlante of Porter Wright LLC in Columbus, Ohio, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 1.
The uncertainties include the future of the rule itself and whether the Trump administration will seek to cancel selected provisions such as publishing the summaries on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s public website.
The Labor Department could decide to end the electronic filing requirement, making the submission question moot, LaPlante said.
“It’s still a long time between Aug. 1 and Dec. 1,” William Principe at Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete LLP’s Atlanta office told Bloomberg BNA July 31.
If an employer does file a summary and the rule is later changed, OSHA shouldn’t be able to use the information to trigger an inspection, Principe said.
LaPlante cautioned that even if the DOL decides to accept the data but not to publish the information on its website, outside groups may still try to obtain reports through Freedom of Information Act requests.
For this first year of electronic filing OSHA expects about 466,000 employers to provide information through OSHA’s Form 300A summarizing the number on-the-job deaths, injuries, and illnesses and the incidents’ causes in workplaces.
The form doesn’t include details of each incident or the number employees at worksites.
The establishments required to file include those with 250 or more employees and locations with 20 to 249 employees in industries designated by OSHA as having historically high rates of occupational injuries and illnesses. The high-rate industries include all construction and manufacturing categories, and a wide range of health-care, transportation, and retail groupings.
The OSHA portal allows employers to submit their own forms, such as spreadsheets, or enter the information manually into the government site.
OSHA declined Bloomberg BNA requests to discuss the new portal.
As OSHA wrote the rule (RIN:1218-AC49), the main objections to the regulation focused on OSHA’s intention to publish the data on its public website and several side issues, such as restrictions on safety incentive and drug testing programs that could lead to incidents going unreported.
Several employer groups and businesses challenged the rule in two federal court cases. Those cases were put on hold when the DOL announced June 27 it was reviewing the rule and moving the submission deadline back five months to Dec. 1 (82 Fed. Reg. 29,261).
The department hasn’t indicated what portions of the rule, if any, the Trump administration will continue.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Rolfsen in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at email@example.com
The submission portal is available at https://www.osha.gov/injuryreporting/index.html.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)